‘We got our Arsenal back!!!’ chanted the travelling fans at full time at Craven Cottage. by Dan Smith
To put into perspective what they had just witnessed, their Arsenal players in October have now won the same amount of away fixtures they did in the whole of the last campaign.
Of the 9 consecutive victories we have now chalked up, this is easily the most impressive of performances. The majority of the other 8 we won were not great and could have gone either way. Don’t read that as criticism but a compliment. Winning when not playing well is the mentality Arsene Wenger could not find in his last two years. Seeing us able to scrap, scrape and fight for three points is the clearest difference Unai Emery has brought in. The Spaniard has put strong benches out in cup ties, started Ramsey even with his contract being allowed to expire, even today he brought on Rambo and Auba when we were winning, not completely wanting them to have a rest.
On Thursday, 3-0 in Azerbaijan, a weakened team more then doing enough, he told Lacazette and Ozil to warm up. The only reason to do that is to keep everyone on their toes, ensuring no one gets into the comfort zone. Those little decisions all paid off at Fulham.
Don’t get me wrong, no gooner should get carried away. You could summarise our start as we lost the matches we should have lost and we won the ones we were favourites to win. Liverpool is our next proper test where we will see if this group can take that extra step.
Yet this didn’t happen 12 months ago. Opposition knew we didn’t cope well with adversity, heads would drop the moment we didn’t get our own way. 12 months ago, if our opposition at their own ground equalised on the stroke of half time our response wouldn’t have been four goals!
It’s why I predicted we would lose this weekend. Fed the football I have been the last 24 months, it’s hard not to think the day is never far away when we don’t show up.
The most pleasing aspect of the 5-1 rout was the 4th goal. Somewhere a certain Frenchmen will have a smile on his face, knowing his replacement shares his same footballing philosophy.
Most of all I’m delighted for all travelling gunners, renowned for showing up around the country in their numbers. In 2018, going up and down the road hasn’t been easy, yet their loyalty never wavers.
At least for now, we have our Arsenal back !!!
Dare to dream?